The Sixth Form Curriculum

  • Diagram to guide you through the process of joining the Sixth Form

Why A Levels?

We have retained A Levels at St Catherine’s because they continue to be the best guide to potential.  Admissions tutors have told us they find A Level students often better prepared for undergraduate courses than students who have studied alternative qualifications because  they have studied topics in greater depth.  Moreover,  the current A Level structure  offers students much more flexibility and personal choice;  for example in IB you may not study all three sciences together which many girls wish to do at St Catherine's.

Girls at St Catherine's can

  • choose to continue with all their AS courses through to A2, or to drop one and pick up another AS part way through the Sixth Form.
  • have a completely free choice from 28 AS subjects.
  •  have the option of re-sitting modules in June in order to maximise their grades.
  • see how well they are doing at the end of the Lower Sixth due to the AS system, unlike linear courses

An Overview

  • AS/A2 - Most A-levels  consist of four modules, each with its own examination.  The first two modules in each subject make up the Advanced Subsidiary award, or AS, which is graded on a six-point scale (A to E).  A further two modules, designated A2, complete the A-level award in the Upper Sixth.  A2 modules are graded on a seven point scale (A* to E).  To achieve an A grade at A2 in any subject, candidates must achieve at least 80% of the combined AS and A2 total scores.  To acheive A* they must also gain an average of 90% in the A2 modules.
  • General Studies - Girls in the Lower Sixth do compulsory AS General Studies which combines staff-led sessions with presentations from outside speakers.  This means they gain five AS Level qualifications. In the Upper Sixth there is the opportunity to continue with A2 General Studies.
  • Physical Education -  Students  take part in a general programme with a range of interesting activities offered, designed to encourage exercise is for fitness, fun and for life.  The sports facilities at St Catherine’s are some of the best in the UK.
  • Religious Education - St Catherine’s is a Church of England School and girls attend a weekly Chapel service conducted by the Chaplain.  A wide range of spiritual and theological issues is raised during the two year period.  The Chapel at St Catherine’s is very beautiful and offers a quiet place for reflection and contemplation in an otherwise busy environment.
  • PSHE (known as Life Matters) -  a range of issues relevant to the 16-18 age group is covered, many focused on preparing students for life in the wider world. 
  • Careers - Girls receive regular sessions throughout the Sixth Form years led by a careers' specialist who helps them make informed choices about their futures. 
  • Entry Requirements - The current  entry requirement into the Sixth Form is at least six GCSE passes at grade B and above including Maths and English. 
  • Choosing Your A Level Subjects -   It is never too early to start researching possible A Level subjects.  We encourage girls to speak to Subject mentors. Friends and family may advise but it is importnat to ensure all information is as up to date as possible.
  • University Preparation -   We have an enviable reputation for girls gaining offers from top universities in the UK and further afield.  In an increasingly competitive application process it is good to know St Catherine's girls are taken very seriously. 

Subject Choices & Implications for University Courses

There are particular subjects which may be required or expected for entry to certain degree courses.  At present the following guidelines should be borne in mind:

Career Area Useful A Levels 
Architecture Mathematics or Physics useful; art portfolio essential
Business Studies, Management Mathematics helpful, but not essential
Computing Mathematics required
Economics, PPE Mathematics strongly advised
Engineering Mathematics and Physics required; Further Mathematics very useful
Foreign languages Two languages (modern or classical) desirable
Law Any A-levels at the highest grade with at least one essay based subject e.g. English, History, R.S.
Medicine, Dentistry,   
Veterinary Science, Pharmacy Both Chemistry and Biology strongly advised 
Natural Science Mathematics plus at least two of the three sciences advised
Psychology Usually two sciences advised for BSc, but entry via arts subjects for BA courses is possible
Teaching Primary teachers require at least one from English, Geography, History, Mathematics, Music, Physics, P.E. and R.S.